x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Tomorrow, When the War Began

With some action set pieces that drip with tension, those looking for an undemanding trip to the cinema will probably come away satisfied.

Tomorrow, When the War Began
Director: Stuart Beattie
Starring: Rachel Hurd-Wood, Caitlin Stasey, Lincoln Lewis, Deniz Akdeniz
**

Think John Milius's Red Dawn meets Home and Away and you're some way to nailing this preposterous action-adventure. Led by BFFs Ellie (Stasey) and Corrie (Rachel Hurd-Wood), seven Australian teenagers from the small town of Wirawee embark on a remote camping trip, only to discover upon their return that the country has been invaded by an unnamed coalition force. Adapted from the 1993 novel by John Marsden, which presumably borrowed from Milius's Brat Packers Vs. Communists tale nine years earlier, our antipodean heroes take arms to defend their patch like an adolescent A-Team. To be fair, those looking for an undemanding trip to the cinema will probably come away satisfied. Explosions are frequent and some of the action set pieces drip with tension, not least when a helicopter terrifyingly scouts the gang's hideout house. But debut writer-director Stuart Beattie (who co-scripted Pirates of the Caribbean) populates his scenes with all-too-obvious archetypes - from the lunkhead rebel (Akdeniz) to the churchgoing good girl (Ashleigh Cummings) and, as a late addition to the group, the befuddled stoner (Andrew Ryan). At least his pin-up cast offer committed turns in their limited roles. And so they should; judging by a conclusion that screams "franchise", they're going to be back for round two.

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